Is it possible to add an odometer reading to the Automatic IFTTT integration?

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  • Updated 1 year ago
  • Not Planned
  • (Edited)
Hi, first I want to say that love my Automatic. I'm using the Automatic IFTTT recipe ( to log my driving to a Google spreadsheet and was wondering if it is possible to include the odometer reading as well?
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Davy Nixon

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Posted 3 years ago

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Adam Altman, Alum

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Official Response
As mentioned by Robert, odometer is not a part of the generic OBD PIDs.  We want badly to be able to access it and are working on that with car makers, though it may be years before they give it to us if ever.

We don't want to offer a way to approximate odometer unless we're confident that it will be a good approximation over thousands of miles, and as yet we do not have that.  

Initially it may seem that simply taking the distance reading from each trip and summing them up would give you the distance travelled so that you could add this to any known start point. The problem is the method used to determine distance for a trip on the Automatic will diverge from what your car uses to record odometer, and over time this divergence could be fairly large.

Automatic calculates distance from speed times time. We sample the car's speed as fast as its bus will allow, up to 1Hz, though many cars are slower than this, some taking several seconds to return the speed value.  Thus, if you car takes 1 second each to return speeds (10MPH, 11MPH, 9MPH) we will calculate the distance of traveling at exactly those speeds for one second each. In truth, the exact distance you travelled depends on what you did within that 1-second interval.  And these margins of error add up to a small amount on a trip basis, surely less than 0.1 miles for most trips, so we can confidently display miles to the tenth.  But over many many trips, this is guaranteed to diverge from reality in an unpleasant way.

The car's internal odometer, by contrast, does not need to sample the bus and can feed instantaneous speed data directly into a distance calculation thousands of times per second. At the tiniest of levels, this is still an approximation of an analogue signal, but one whose margin of error is effectively zero.

You can see a comparison of those concepts here:

There is a second matter which is that if Automatic fails to capture a trip for whatever reason (unplugged adapter, firmware reboot mid trip, etc), we will miss the mileage of that segment completely, putting us miles or tens of miles off in one fell swoop.

In sum, we believe the only reliable way to offer odometer reading is to find a way to get the odometer PID directly from the engine.  It is there, and should be technically achievable, just a business deal hurdle to get it done.